Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler

Introduction to the verb déceler

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The English translation of the French verb déceler is “to detect” or “to uncover.” It is pronounced [dey-sey-leh] in the infinitive form.

The origin of the word déceler can be traced back to the Latin word “dēcellere,” which means “to uncover” or “to reveal.” In everyday French, déceler is most often used in the Conditionnel Passé tense, which is used to express a hypothetical or past event.

Here are three simple examples of déceler in the Conditionnel Passé tense with their English translations:

  1. Si j’avais mieux regardé, j’aurais décelé la fraude. (If I had looked closer, I would have detected the fraud.)
  2. Je me demandais si quelqu’un avait décelé mon mensonge. (I wondered if someone had uncovered my lie.)
  3. Il aurait été plus prudent de déceler les signes avant-coureurs de la maladie. (It would have been wiser to detect the early symptoms of the disease.)

Table of the Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of déceler

Pronoun Conjugation Example Usage English Translation
je aurais décelé Si j’avais été là, j’aurais décelé le problème. If I had been there, I would have uncovered the problem.
tu aurais décelé Tu aurais décelé la vérité. You would have discovered the truth.
il aurait décelé Il aurait décelé les mensonges. He would have detected the lies.
elle aurait décelé Elle aurait décelé son inquiétude. She would have detected her worry.
on aurait décelé On aurait décelé une certaine tension. One would have detected a certain tension.
nous aurions décelé Nous aurions décelé les indices. We would have uncovered the clues.
vous auriez décelé Vous auriez décelé le danger. You would have detected the danger.
ils auraient décelé Ils auraient décelé le problème. They would have uncovered the problem.
elles auraient décelé Elles auraient décelé la fraude. They (female) would have detected the fraud.

Other Conjugations for Déceler.

    

    Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler

    Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler

    Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler

    Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler

    Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler
     

    Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler  (this article)

    L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler

    L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb déceler


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Déceler – About the French Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense

The French “Conditionnel Passé” is a compound tense used to express hypothetical or unreal actions in the past. It is formed by combining the conditional of the auxiliary verb “avoir” or “être” and the past participle of the main verb.

NOTE: To take a deep dive into all the French tenses then see my article on Mastering French Tense Conjugation.

Formation

Start with the conditional of the auxiliary verb: For most verbs, use “aurais” (for “avoir”) or “serais” (for “être”) as the conditional form. 

With “avoir”: j’aurais, tu aurais, il/elle/on aurait, nous aurions, vous auriez, ils/elles auraient. 
With “être”: je serais, tu serais, il/elle/on serait, nous serions, vous seriez, ils/elles seraient. 

Add the past participle of the main verb to this conditional form. 
For example, if you want to say “I would have done,” you would use “j’aurais fait.” If you want to say “She would have gone,” you would use “elle serait allée.”

Common Everyday Usage Patterns

Expressing Unreal Past Scenarios

The Conditionnel Passé is often used to talk about actions that did not happen in the past, but you are speculating about what would have occurred if they had. It’s a way to discuss hypothetical situations in the past. 

Si j’avais su, je t’aurais aidé. (If I had known, I would have helped you.)
Il serait venu s’il avait eu le temps. (He would have come if he had had the time.) 

Polite Requests or Suggestions

It can be used to make polite requests or suggestions in the past. 

Pourriez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît ? (Could you have helped me, please?) 

Expressing Doubt or Uncertainty

It can convey doubt or uncertainty regarding past events.

Il aurait peut-être oublié notre rendez-vous. (He might have forgotten our appointment.)

Interactions with Other Tenses

Conditional Present

You can use the Conditionnel Passé in combination with the conditional present to describe past actions that were hypothetical at the time they were spoken about. J’aurais aimé que tu m’appelles hier. (I would have liked you to call me yesterday.) 

Indicative Past Tenses

You might use the Conditionnel Passé alongside indicative past tenses like the passé composé to contrast hypothetical and real past events. Il est venu hier, mais s’il avait pu, il serait venu la semaine dernière. (He came yesterday, but if he could have, he would have come last week.) 

Conditional Future

In some cases, you can use the Conditionnel Passé in combination with the conditional future to discuss unreal past events that could have consequences in the future. Si j’avais réussi mon examen, j’aurais un meilleur travail. (If I had passed my exam, I would have a better job.)

Summary

In summary, the Conditionnel Passé is used to express hypothetical or unreal actions in the past. It is often used in conjunction with other tenses to convey various nuances in French, allowing speakers to discuss imaginary past scenarios, make polite requests, or express doubt about past events.

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